TLDR; Short of getting offers from other companies in a job search, how can I evaluate the monetary value of each new skill I gain?

For instance, since I started my job (analyst), I've learned a few new skills. I've learned intermediate SQL (Server 2008), Advanced Excel (some might say expert, but some of the more financial formulas elude me), Intermediate VBA, Intermediate Crystal Reports, and (I think?) basic data modeling and warehousing.

I started as a collector straight out of high school, and am 100% self taught for all of these skills. As such, I don't have any accreditation for these skills, and am not quite sure how much they raise the value of my skills. I started the job with a basic IF statement knowledge in Excel (No pivot tables, etc).

How can I evaluate my skills when related to monetary increases? Do the skills I've gained since starting add significant value to my global value?

ETA: This question differs as it's asking how to evaluate skills learned in regards to current salary and raises, rather than how to negotiate how much salary to ask for. Were this about how to negotiate what I think I'm worth, the other question would answer it, but I'm more asking how to evaluate skills gained monetarily.

  • 7
    You don't have a "global value", only a value defined by your suitability for a job that carries a certain salary and requires certain skills. If you want to apply for VB development on the SQL stack then you are increasing your likelihood of attaining such a job, with its attendant salary, by adding the skills you are, and that is their value. If you want to be a Rabbit Farmer, these new skills are adding nothing to your chances and are therefore valueless. It's all about the context.
    – Marv Mills
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 15:41
  • Assuming United States? In Japan for instance, most employers will not employ or pay based on your skillset. Further, many employers will ask for some form of accreditation , even going so far as to pay for you to get it. Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 2:07
  • Skills which are easily trainable are not as valuable. For example, if I have a new employee, can I easily train her to use Crystal Reports or use certain Excel functions? If so, then those skills themselves are not as valuable. However, you probably didn't learn the skills just for the hell of it. You learned them from experience to solve certain problems. You should let that be your value, not the skills themselves.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 8:43

7 Answers 7


Your skills are only worth what you can get someone to pay for them. This is going to be highly localized company to company and highly dependent on your negotiation skills. If you are competent in a skill that would provide value in their workplace that may make you a more attractive hire.

How you turn being an attractive hire into dollars is all about how you negotiate.


You can't work it out in that fashion because firstly you have no certification (proof) and secondly skills are worth what people want to pay for them.

There is also no guarantee that a future employer is going to want your whole skillset. I have worked in numerous industries and my skillset ranges from gas welding to culling deer. However I'm now in the IT industry and I only get paid for a much narrower range of skills.

Being certified helps but even then no one pays me these days to drive a truck or work with 245T, both of which I'm certified to do.

  • 1
    That's too bad. I think any job that requires you to cull deer, gas weld, drive trucks, and work in IT sounds like a great time.
    – Erik
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 22:09
  • 1
    It would certainly be more interesting, happy to do it if I can get the same hourly rate :-) Would have to import the deer though, none in this country.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 22:12
  • 1
    lol yes that pesky need to pay the bills does interfere....
    – Erik
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 22:16

To some degree the value of your skills is based on your employer, and how much they need a particular skill. AngularJS development, for example, is an in-demand skill, but if a company already has many developers with that skill, yours may not be worth as much.

There are resources and guides out there (e.g., The Robert Half Salary Guide) that take national averages for skill sets and convert them to percentage to add to your desired salary.

Any given skill's value is going to depend on the company and region, but guides like the one listed above can give you a starting point.


In salary it is more about what you produce. But skills help you produce. The most skilled person may be one of the worst producer. Some skills are very limited and do have a market range but you are not at that level. Focus on the value. I took it own my own to produce these report that do X and save the company Y.

In an interview they are more stuck measuring skills.


A persons salary is based upon (among other things)

  1. Skills the person has and there relevance to the job
  2. How common are those skills in the current market
  3. The persons knowledge/experience using those skills
  4. How much the company needs a "bum on the seat"

As you can see - just having another skill does not mean that your pay goes up. It just means that you have the luxury of finding a job more easily and having the potential for higher salary. It does not mean that this is always the case.

I would also like to add that getting a job you should not solely base that decision on just the salary. You should take into account things like

  1. How easy is it to get to work?
  2. What are the working conditions like?
  3. Will you find the job interesting and fulfilling?
  4. Other benefits (flexible working, pension, ...)
  5. Possibilities of career advancement and/or training.

All of the answers are fine, but seem to lack a certain ... practicality.

If I wanted to evaluate a new set of skills I acquired in the market, I would simply look for job listings requiring those skills in your local area and gather salary ranges for those positions, and take the average/median value as your general "value."

For example, when I search "VBA" as a skill in the Houston area on Indeed.com, I see 62 jobs paying $55,000 or more, and the median job paying somewhere between $80,000 and $90,000.

When I search "VBA Excel" I also see a median job of $80-$90,000, and the same for Crystal Reports.

And for "SQL" I see the median's in the $85-$95,000 range.

It's not a perfect measure, but it at least gives you a much tighter and realistic range.


How can I evaluate my skills when related to monetary increases?

Not easily

Do the skills I've gained since starting add significant value to my global value?

Not necessarily

That's the pithy answer. The skills you cite are awfully granular and subject to change and very much subject to interpretation.

There are a few occasions where it's known that a very specific skill (usually with an accreditation) is worth a specific known amount of money, because there are very critical and long lasting business drivers that force a certain value to be put on that skill set. A quintessential example is actuaries - who take a series of exams and get an accreditation - there is nearly always a salary bump at each stage and a big bump on final accreditation - it's well known and well understood - largely because the skills are EXTEREMELY high demand and the population capable and willing to learn them is quite finite. And the job is tied to a specific type of industry, and the people doing that job can easily transfer from company to company - so in many ways, it's a commodity.

That's the exception more than the rule. In tech world, skills like you mention are very fluid they are tied to:

  • how much does this business need you to have them?
  • how hard is it to find someone else with this skill?
  • what goes wrong if you don't have the skill?
  • how do you rate in productivity compared to others (because of this skill set or otherwise?)

Businesses tend not to tie their ratings of employees too tightly to any specific skill set. They want to be able to review and rank employees in a way that transcends changing technology and changing processes - and most companies want to be able to expect that you'll continue to learn and grow your skill set as part of your job.

Chances are good that they have a vision of an ideal employee at your rank that includes a bundle of capabilities and some general ideas of efficiency. When they figure out raises and promotions, they will look to see who is amazing, good, or bad at their jobs and try to divide the money and the ratings accordingly. Usually...

  • Amazing = does everything within the deadlines or faster. With very few mistakes. Finds new and better ways to do things that result in being faster, of higher quality or of bigger scope with less work.
  • Good = gets the job done, usually on time, usually with a minimum of errors. May find better ways to do things, but that's not a typical behavior pattern.
  • Not good = high in errors, or slow in output, or takes lots of time from others to do what others can do with less help.

How that plays out depends on the job.

Note that skills are just one factor in productivity - working well with others, taking direction from management, applying skills effectively, using good judgement - all these things contribute and can help with getting a good or bad rating.

If the skills you cite (and the work you do) get you into the Amazing range, then you can expect that you'll get a better bonus, or a raise, or even a promotion (or at least you deserve one!). How much better? Within the company, that depends on how much they can give you and how much they are inclined to give you. That's two different values:

  • how much they can give you - is limited by budget - if the company isn't profitable, they are not in a good position to give raises, promotions or bonuses. Even a great employee will get lousy money in a bad fiscal year.

  • how much they want to give you - is usually how much they value your role. The same job can have a very different value across companies. In a firm that has mission critical needs for what you do, retaining you and your knowledge of the business may be seen as incredibly important, and when raises and bonuses are considered, your role gets a big percentage of the pool. In a firm that sees that there is no career growth for a role like yours, they may intentionally limit the money budgeted for recognition of your work, because they don't value retaining you. The same exact skills and job can be valued or not valued depending on the company. Even two companies in the same business may see the value of a given role differently depending on their business strategy.

Also be aware that pure pay may not be the only way you are rewarded. If a company sees you as someone who likes learning, and who will step up and use that learning to the benefit of the company, there may be other perks - like educational benefits, mentorship and good growth opportunities. These things eventually translate into additional money, but the payoff can take years.

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